Thursday, October 21, 2021

Arteta admits dropped Leno is disappointed but plays down rift

Having been dropped for Saturday’s win with Norwich, there has been much speculation about Bernd Leno’s future.

The Germany international was rumoured to be unhappy at the decision – hardly surprising – while other reports in Germany suggest his time on the sidelines is only temporary and he’ll be back between the sticks for the North London derby at the end of September.

Ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Burnley, Arteta seemed amused by all the talk but was quick to play down suggestions of a rift, talked up the German’s professionalism and made clear that competition for places is exactly what he wants.

“It’s the same in every position, we want them to make each other better,” said Arteta.

“We are competing against the opponent, we are not competing against each other here. We are just trying to bring players that can raise the level of their positions and the level of the team, the level of the club. This is the only reason [he made the change].

“Obviously, for Bernd, he wasn’t pleased when I communicated he wasn’t playing but he’s a top professional and a top person. He should be disappointed and he needs to support his teammates like they’ve all done with him every time he’s played. It’s exactly what he’s done.”

On why he went with Ramsdale: “We had to change something and Aaron has been coming here to try and make us better. We needed a result on the day and I decided to play him, that’s all.”

“I don’t know where they [the stories about team selection] are coming from but they are ahead of me.

“I think I am the one who picks the team at the weekend and sometimes I read things that I haven’t decided yet. They give me ideas at the most but nothing else. I haven’t made a decision for Saturday so imagine the north London derby!”

On Leno supposedly reacting badly, he added: “No, that’s not true. He responded. He can be frustrated but he was top with his teammates, in training with everything. That’s not true.

“I’ve been saying to the goalkeepers in the last two or three years…what we want to do is empower performance and ask them to train, behave and play the best possible way. How can I guarantee somebody to do something?

“It wouldn’t make sense with what we’re demanding them to do. It’s on a daily basis what you do. What you did three months ago in football, it doesn’t count. It’s what you do today and tomorrow.”
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